Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s trial has been postponed as Justice Minister Amir Ohana issued an order to shift all court activity to a “state of extraordinary emergency,” Maariv reporter Roi Yanovsky reported Sunday morning.
Ohana’s emergency order will be in force for 24 hours and is expected to be extended. All non-urgent court sessions with the exception of bail hearings are postponed under the order. Ohana’s office reported that further steps would be examined and taken.
According to the Justice Ministry, court sessions that will be allowed while the order is in effect will be urgent requests to postpone evacuation or demolition, deportations and arrests among other issues.
It was previously reported by KAN that Ohana was planning to change the Justice Ministry’s regulations regarding court activity, making it possible for the coronavirus crisis to be declared a state of national emergency, as the regulations refer to security-related emergencies.
The NGO Movement for Quality Government-issued Sunday morning a request that Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit freeze Ohana’s order. According to the NGO, “Minister Ohana is an interim minister in an interim government that has never gotten the confidence of the public.”
The movement added that “the regulations stand in conflict with Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, possibly amounting to a grave, unconstitutional violation of human rights, and were never approved by the Knesset.”
On Saturday night, Netanyahu announced that counter-terrorism measures would be used to identify and track potential coronavirus patients. The measures, allowing state security services to track citizen’s phones, were condemned by politicians across the political spectrum.
Mandelblit’s office approved Netanyahu’s regulation allowing the Israeli Security Service (Shin Bet) to surveil Israeli citizens, “subject to limitations, particularly concerning the period they would be in effect.”
Former defense minister MK Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon (Blue and White) responded to Netanyahu’s new regulations, saying on Twitter that “everyone who criticized us when we warned against becoming [Turkish President Tayyip] Erdogan’s Turkey should acknowledge and understand the cynical exploitation of the coronavirus crisis for the personal interests of a defendant before trial.”
Former justice minister MK Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) tweeted that “the technological surveillance after coronavirus patients is a radical move and a grave violation of privacy, but it can save lives and money to the state.”